Instagram is considering hiding like counts on posts to reduce the sense of competition amongst users.
Jane Manchun Wong uncovered the test in the code of Instagram’s Android app:
Instagram is testing hiding like count from audiences,
as stated in the app: "We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get" pic.twitter.com/MN7woHowVN
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) April 18, 2019
A pop-up message in the screenshot above states:
“We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get. During this test, only the person who shared a post will see the total number of likes it gets.”
In the example above you can see how the total like count is removed, and there’s now a link to ‘View Likes.’
Clicking on ‘View Likes’ lets the user see the total number of likes a posts has, and the individual users who liked it.
Other users wouldn’t be able to see that information. They can see when other users they follow like a particular posts, but they can’t see total like counts.
Instagram confirmed to TechCrunch that this design is being worked on internally but is not visible to the public yet.
So this may get an official release and it may not. For what it’s worth, a number test features spotted by Jane Manchun Wong were eventually released publicly.
This could improve the Instagram experience in a number of ways. Hiding like counts could make the whole experience feel more organic.
People may feel more inclined to share what they want rather than focusing on what will get the most likes.
To that end, people may also feel less inclined to delete a post when it doesn’t meet a certain threshold of likes.
Turning Instagram into less of a popularity content sounds like a healthy move for everyone.